BLACKSBURG, VA (CBS) – Obese people might have less endurance on the job than the average worker.
Researchers from Virginia Tech studied 32 people categorized as either non-obese young, obese young, non-obese older, or obese older who were instructed to complete three tasks that required multiple uses of the upper extremities. Workplace patterns and environments were simulated.
Those who fell into the obese categories had 40% less endurance on average than those who were not obese, particularly when it came to functions that required hand grip and assembly. Furthermore, those in the obese group who were female also experienced greater decline in task performance.
“Workers who are obese may need longer rest breaks to return to their initial state of muscle function. Based on the increased fatigue found among workers who are obese, workplace designers may need to consider adding fixtures and supports to minimize the amount of time that body mass segments need to be supported. We believe our results will help to develop more inclusive ergonomic guidelines,” said Lora A. Cavuoto, an assistant professor in the department of industrial and systems engineering at the University at Buffalo, SUNY.
The research is published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (JOEH).
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